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A former Google contractor is suing the company for allegedly stealing from him the idea for the Sky layer in Google Earth.
Jonathan Cobb claims in his suit that he disclosed the idea for a Google Sky idea in internal e-mail discussion groups when he worked at Google as a contractor beginning in 2006.
Lawsuit Claims Google Stole Earth Sky Layer [news.com]
Well, exactly. If he had this kind of contract with Google, he wins. Else not.
Right. That's why they chose the "fraud" approach. In this way they ask compensation for damages regardless of the real value of the application to Google.
Plaintiff shows that, beginning in 2006, as a contractor working in Georgia through WorkforceLogic USA, Plaintiff convened a Google internal e-mail discussion group, denominated googles (a) google roups .com, in which Plaintiff presented, advanced and refined the Google Sky concept and idea. When Plaintiff formed the e-mail discussion group, he listed as members of the group certain employees of Defendant
Google who had managerial and operational responsibility for Google Earth and related programs.
By expressly encouraging employees, contract employees, contractors and others to provide innovative ideas and refinements for new and existing Google programs, Defendant Google induced Plaintiff to submit his previously developed concept and idea for Google Sky to a proper internal Google company e-mail discussion group . Defendant extended to Plaintiff an incentive to assist the company in building and expanding its programs and services through an investment of his intellectual capital, energy and ideas .
By misappropriating, using and extending Plaintiff s concept and idea without providing credit and compensation to Plaintiff, Defendant Google has engaged in fraud and fraudulent inducement under principles of Georgia law.
Google's giving Google Earth away (though are there any enhanced versions you can actually pay for?) so arguably they are losing money on it, if you just look at it by itself.
But by having created and given away Google Earth, Google has considerably enhanced its reputation. It's a great program, which people are using in many different ways, and it's free. Isn't that worth something in good will? So an enhancement like the Sky layer is worth something too.
That I can see. But whether Cobb is entitled to part of that depends on the details... We will see, in time.
But by having created and given away Google Earth, Google has considerably enhanced its reputation.
I think Google bought some company that actually created that application, it is probably easy to prove that it is a loss leader with some exact sums shown around while additional "good will" from extra layer of Sky is hardly quantifiable - this kind of frivolous lawsuit only works when one rich party sues some poor party, but in this case Google is hardly poor, if anything they can afford very long legal cases just to make example of frivolous claimants to deter others from making such claims.